When Times are Bad
By: Alistair Brown
I was the pastor of a growing church. I was liked, appreciated, and our numbers kept going up. But my world had grown very dark deep inside my head and my heart. I couldn’t see value in my work. I couldn’t believe people were really being helped. I couldn’t see a future that was good. I might have said God seemed a million miles away, but the truth was that I had no idea where God was at all. I still believed in him but somehow I had got completely lost. “You’re depressed,” my doctor had told me, and I was. Not just tired or sad or feeling down. Seriously depressed.
But I was still working. That Sunday night we baptized ten people. Services like that were always big occasions because family and friends were invited and they came. The place was packed. I stood up and preached a message I believed but didn’t feel. Inside I was dead. I had no sense of God, no sense that message mattered. I just wanted to get through the service.
The sermon finished, we sang a hymn, my associate and one of the elders baptized the people, and then it was back to me. Every baptism service was an evangelistic opportunity, so it was now my job to call people to commitment. I wished I could have done anything else at that moment. Only grim determination got me to the front of the church, and I invited people to give their lives to Christ, for the first time or in a deeper commitment. I said the right kind of words, and stopped. What happened next was nothing I expected.
If you would like to know ‘what happened next’, it’s in the Bible Study ‘When God Seems to Have Forgotten Us’ recently posted on Northern’s web site. Here’s the quick link.